What are emoticons?
An emoticon is a textual face of a writer's mood or facial expression.( taken from wikipedia.)
What are they used for?
They are often used to alert a responder to the tenor or temper of a statement, and can change and improve interpretation of plain text. ( taken from wikipedia)
Its very true how emoticons can simply change how plain texts are interpreted. It lightens up the mood of the conversation instead of just plain text all the way. It bonds people together.
I use emoticons very often and also short abbreviations too.( E.G: LOL, (: , :D ) These are my 3 main ones that i frequently use.
The question is more of do you use them just as tools to enhance relationships and just for the sake of pretence or do you use them because as what wikipedia says, a textual face of the writer's mood?